There’s no denying that I like an organ’s thick juicy sound. My love started with that Farfisa bounce in 60s garage rock – i.e. 96 Tears. It expanded with Vanilla Fudge, ELP. I think on of my fruit jazz organ lps with Jimmy Smith’s Monster (more about him when I get to ’S’].

Back in the day when I flipped though bins of 2nd hand cds I came upon Brother Jack McDuff (1926-2001) lp: Gettin’ Our Thing Together (1968) which had one of the most hideous covers I’d ever seen, so I bought it for fifty-cents. He’s a funkier version of Jimmy Smith. On this mp3 collection I have Do It Now (1967)/Gettin’ Our Thing Together (1968)/Moon Rappin’ (1969),  Sophisticated Funk (1976). All great fun & worth checking out.

Also on this mp3 cd is Booker T & The MGs: Time Is Tight: This is a three cd set that covers all their studio lps up to & including ‘Melting Pot.’ Now this is funky is a more soulful way, more pop than jazz. All the hits are here: Green Onions, Hip Hug-Her as well as endless tasty cover versions of the Beatles, movie themes (Hang’Em High) & original songs. The group was also the house band for a couple of labels i.e. Stax, Atlantic & played on hundreds of number one singles by a list of stars too long to include here.

Booker T was also highly influential on many British groups: Procol Harum owes them a debit of gratitude, as does Pink Floyd whose long dreamy passages could be by Booker T. At one time I had the lp Melting Pot as well as a cassette of ‘Greatest Hits.’ Melting Pop is a masterpiece that transcends genre & if you don’t have it – get it.

Next on the shelf is the stand-alone of Jimmy McGriff’s (1936-2008) – Tribute to Basie (1966). Another fine jazz organist this is a, as you might guess, more of a big band work out with organ instead of saxes taking the lead. Another cd I picked up flipping through bins at a 2nd hand music store. Now I flip though iTunes for obscure old school disco.

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Pandemic Piano Purge

Over the past year or so of the lockdown I’ve done my own purging & have observed the purges of others & was struck my frequency of various keyboards: electric organs, peddle organs, & pianos. I guess there is no place to donate them to that will come & pick them up – so they get curbed for the city to deal with.

lawn organ-ment
just a little scratch

these next four are all of the same piano that was dismembered & left to fend for its wounded self on the Danforth

not sure if these are less or more depressing – cute pics but still a keyboard being curbed

Elton John piano starter for your kids

– sweet, eh?

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The title is a little joke on putting these two French composers together. They probably knew each other at the time but were probably rivals. Both were impressionists – Saint-Saens was a more ‘serious’ composer. Both created work that has lasted. 

By Camille Saint-Saens (1835 – 1921) I have Best of 2 cds that includes Carnival of The Animals, Dance Macabre; Cello Music/Sibelius: Violin C; 2cd set of the Piano Concertos; an lp to cd transfer of various Violin music; Symphony with organ/Poulenc: Concerto for Organ. The various concertos are more romantic than impressionist.  

I knew some of his music before I knew who he was. Some pieces have/ are used for ballet, film & TV soundtracks, so you may already know them. I remember being stunned by The Aquarium in the film Days of Heaven. It a too short lush piece of a floating dream. The Swan is a ballet standard. Both are from Carnival of The Animals. If you are unfamiliar Carnival is a good place to start.

By Erik Satie (1866 – 1925): I have a cd of Piano Works; lp to cd transfers of various piano; lp to cd transfer Velvet Gentleman: an amazing electronic interpretation of this work from 1970 by The Camarata Contemporary Chamber Group. All  include the Gymnopedies. Velvet has the names of the pieces spoken before they get played & it is a delight. It is also one of the best electronic recordings every made.

Satie wasn’t taken that serious though thanks to titles like Mona Lisa’s Moustache. If he had used titles like Etude in C# he probably would have been more respected 🙂 He had a real sense humour but I’ve been told his piano music is as challenging as anything by Chopin.

I have many versions of The Gymnopedies. Orchestral, classical guitar, flute, harp even wordless soprano. It has also become a jazz standard & even shows up in rock. The pieces have a drifting, spiral quality that is very meditative, & depending on who is playing becomes quite spiritual. It certainly set the stage for every piece of new age music you’ve ever heard.


The feel was upon him – he never knew when to expect it – it wasn’t regular like day becoming night to return to day – there was no time of day or night – it was always there – it could happen at any time – taking a shower – reading the paper – walking down the street – sound asleep – it was never sudden though – it would be a gradual awareness that yes he was feeling that way again – it wasn’t like walking into a wall or waking up to a room on fire – too subtle for that – some days he would realize he’d been lost in the feeling for hours days – not that it was unpleasant but it was something he wanted to control – to limit – to at least be aware of sooner when it was happening so he would – what – he wasn’t sure what he would do – couldn’t avoid it – couldn’t make it last longer or happen at will – it would just be there and he’d wonder when did this start or is it just the last one still happening – still on the go and he’d just forgotten he was feeling it and went on to feeling other things other ways – it somehow didn’t seem fair that he could be so powerless over his own self – it was as if he wasn’t himself – that it was his body but that he wasn’t at home in it without that sense of ah yes I can sit down when I want to – I feel how I want to when I want to –

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